Become a Storyteller

The Dream

"My fellow chiefs and I would like the white man to know the red man has great heroes, also" – Chief Henry Standing Bear

The Promise

"The story of the Native American is an epic which requires an epic scale...By carving Crazy Horse, if I can give the Indian some of his pride and create the means to keep alive his culture and heritage, my life will have been worthwhile." – Korczak Ziolkowski

An Inspiring Past |  A Bright Future

This Memorial began as a dream. The work was initiated with a handshake and a promise.

The promise of Korczak to Chief Henry Standing Bear produced a commitment for a family.

In the beginning there were no roads, no running water, no electricity. There was only $174, a tent and a strong will.

Holes for explosives on the mountain were drilled by hand.

From the start, there was a commitment not to seek nor take tax dollars, based on a belief in the free enterprise system and the generosity of the American people.

Korczak turned his back on a life of economic success for a life of service to others. The Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation perpetuates those values as the dream continues.

Crazy Horse Memorial has been a nonprofit 501(c) (3) foundation since November, 1949. Contributions to the organization are tax deductible under IRS guidelines and help to support the Mission of Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation.

The Mission of Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation is to protect and preserve the culture, tradition and living heritage of the North American Indians. The Foundation demonstrates its commitment to this endeavor by following these objectives:

  1. Continuing the progress on the world's largest sculptural undertaking by carving a Memorial of Lakota leader Crazy Horse;
  2. Providing educational and cultural programming to encourage harmony and reconciliation among all people and nations;
  3. Acting as a repository for Native American artifacts, arts and crafts through the INDIAN MUSEUM OF NORTH AMERICA® and the NATIVE AMERICAN EDUCATIONAL & CULTURAL CENTER®; Establishing and operating the INDIAN UNIVERSITY OF NORTH AMERICA®, and when practical, a medical training center for American Indians.

The Progress:

The Mountain Carving

Crazy Horse mountain carvers recently mapped out their future on the far side of the Mountain.

In preparing to create the artistic details, the crew painted the outline of the extended hand, using reference points transferred from computer models and checked with the latest surveying equipment. The hand will be supported by the mane atop the colossal horse’s head.

• The hand will be about 25 feet tall.

• The extended left index finger, resting on the horse’s mane for stability, will be nearly 29 ½ feet long.

• The horse’s head, when completed, will be 219 feet tall. (Taller than the statue of Liberty from base to torch)

We are currently removing the rock to craft the hand, a measuring boom similar to one used in creating the carved face has been built and installed at the end of the extended arm.

Scholarship Program

Korczak's vision extended beyond the mountain carving. In 1978, Korczak began a scholarship program with just $250 to start the educational portion of the dream. Korczak called it a "modest effort now toward the future, long-range educational goals of Crazy Horse. Scholarships have surpassed 2 million dollars!


Welcoming its inaugural class in June 2010, the INDIAN UNIVERSITY OF NORTH AMERICA® at Crazy Horse became operational. The summer educational program, offered in partnership with University of South Dakota, provides students with the opportunity to earn up to 12 transferable college credits. In addition, students participate in paid internships at the Memorial, giving them the chance to earn funds for continued college expenses and gain valuable work experience.


The INDIAN MUSEUM OF NORTH AMERICA® is home to an extraordinary collection of art and artifacts reflecting the diverse histories and cultures of the American Indian people. The museum, designed to complement the story being told in stone on the mountain, speaks eloquently to present and future generations about American Indian life.
  • “No one is ever wrong who desires to do that which is not required of them to do — and that which is of a noble purpose. The purpose of Crazy Horse is noble.”
    Korczak Ziolkowski / Sculptor
  • “My fellow chiefs and I would like the white man to know that the red man has great heroes also.”
    Chief Henry Standing Bear
  • “When the legends die, the dreams end. When the dreams end, there is no more greatness.”
    Korczak Ziolkowski / Sculptor
  • “The Important thing is that we never stop. That’s the main thing. And if you looked at it as strictly a view of being finished, you could get awfully distracted waiting for that day to come. This way, you’re pleased with every little step of progress that you make.”
    Ruth Ziolkowski / Sculptor's Wife
  • “One does not sell the earth upon which the people walk.”
    Crazy Horse
  • “By carving Crazy Horse, if I can give back to the Indian some of his pride and create a means to keep alive his culture and heritage, my life will have been worthwile.”
    Korczak Ziolkowski / Sculptor
  • “He left everything so we can carry on his work, and that’s just what we’re going to do. We’re dedicated to that. His whole life would be wasted if the mountain carving and the humanitarian goals are not completed.”
    Ruth Ziolkowski / Sculptor's Wife
  • “My lands are where my dead lie buried.”
    Crazy Horse
  • “If it weren’t for each and every one you, whether your gift was small or large monetarily, whether it was friendship and encouragement, without you we wouldn’t be here…”
    Ruth Ziolkowski / Sculptor's Wife
  • “Standing Bear explained that the Indian has a concept of honoring their great heroes that’s totally different from the white man’s. It was difficult for me to understand at first…The Indian uses the direct approach. He says: that man was my ancestor, and he was a great man, so we should honor him-I would not lie or cheat because I am his blood”
    Korczak Ziolkowski / Sculptor

Crazy Horse Memorial
12151 Avenue of the Chiefs
Crazy Horse, SD 57730-8900

(605) 673-4681


Upcoming Events

  • Memorial Weekend
    May 25-28

    Memorial Weekend <br />May 26-29,<br /> 2017
    Native American’s across this great nation have served and sacrificed in the United States Military, join us to honor all fallen heroes who fought and protected our freedom. American Indian artists will be featured throughout the Welcome Center. Admission to the Memorial will be waived with 3 cans of food per person.
  • Legends in Light
    May 25-Sep 30

    Legends in Light<br /> May 26-Oct 1<br />
    This spectacular light show tells the story of the Memorial in laser lights projected onto the Mountain. You will be treated to the story of Chief Henry Standing Bear’s invitation to Korczak, Ruth’s contributions and special features of many Native American heroes. This must see show is featured nightly at dark, for sun down times click here:
  • Native Americans’Day
    Oct 8

    Native Americans’ Day  Oct 10, 2016
    Governor George S. Mickelson and the SD legislature declared 1990 as the “Year of Reconciliation”, the day formerly known as Columbus Day became Native American Day. Native American Day at Crazy Horse Memorial is celebrated by planned activities for kids, program and performers, Educator of the Year is awarded and (weather permitting) a mountain blast. Admission is waved to the Memorial with 3 cans of food per person.